"I've got a package," the nude co-ed said quietly, handing a yellow slip to the woman in the campus post office window. The dour woman flashed a disapproving look before disappearing to retrieve the package.
"Take your time," a male voice called out from behind her. "This is one line I don't mind waiting in."
Allison Davis reddened slightly but kept her back to the laughter. A manila envelope slid across the counter and she saw her mom's name and return address on it. Allison placed the package on top of the schoolbooks tucked under her arm and avoided eye contact with the others in line as she padded past them and out the door. There was a slight chill in the morning air as the sun wrestled with the clouds for control of the sky. Tiny goosebumps appeared on her skin and her nipples hardened slightly. The fluctuations in temperatures of late spring weather was one of the things Allison had been learning to deal with in the two weeks that had gone by since her life had been turned upside down by the reading of her grandfather's will.
Allison avoided the rough, scraping surface of the sidewalk, staying on the softer grass instead, as she made her way across campus towards her dorm. As she passed the unoccupied school baseball diamond the sun broke free, its warming rays feeling wonderful on her bare skin. Allison decided to take a seat in the empty wooden bleachers to read her mail in the open air - something she probably couldn't have done even a few days ago when she spent every minute not in class or at meals hiding in her room.
Carefully ripping open the edge of the manila envelope she peered inside, seeing a book and a folded letter. She extracted the letter and began to read:
You said you wanted to find out more about your grandmother Rebecca so I'm enclosing her private diary that was given to me after her death. I've never shown it to anyone so please keep it private, hon.
Every day is one day closer to your goal, sweetheart. Be strong, Allie.
Allison removed the hard cover book and began thumbing through its handwritten pages. She was interrupted by a familiar voice.
"When does the game start?"
Allison turned to the sound of the voice and saw her sleazy Uncle Tony standing nearby, a smug grin on his face.
"Tony! What the hell are you doing here?"
Tony Compton slid next to Allison and placed an arm around her shoulders giving them a squeeze. "I'm just here to visit my favorite niece," he said.
Allison recoiled at his touch and slid away. "I'm your only niece, Tony."
"All the more reason to stop by for a visit," he grinned, unfazed by her rejection.
"If you're here to see if I've broken the terms of the will...I haven't."
Tony shrugged. "Not yet anyway." He pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. "Mind if I smoke?"
"Yes, I do mind."
He stood up and walked a few steps away from the stands and leaned against the chain-link fence that bordered the field. "Okay, I'll smoke over here then," he said as he removed a cigarette from the pack and fired it up. Tony's eyes remained hidden behind his designer sunglasses but Allison had no doubts about where those eyes were roaming.
Despite the expensively tailored clothes he wore, Tony always looked slightly disheveled to her, as if the clothes were rejecting the wearer. Like his expensive suits, Tony tried to wear an aura of power that never quite fit him. Tony's father, Arthur Compton, had been very different. The sense of wealth and power, with a hint of danger just beneath the surface, had been an innate part of the man that came as naturally to him as breathing. Tony's attempts to emulate his father came off as a slightly pathetic affectation. The son was not the father.
Tony spoke again. "I've got to hand it to you, Allison, I sure as hell didn't think you'd make it this far. You've got balls."
"I take it you mean that in the figurative sense?"
"I mean it in the sense that you've got balls."
Allison was becoming impatient. "Is there some point to this visit, Tony?"
Tony looked at his beautiful young niece. "Yeah, there's a point. I've decided to save you from further embarrassment."
"Who says I'm embarrassed?"
Tony laughed. "I've had you watched since you got back here. You're not exactly the exhibitionist type, are you?"
Allison sat silently for a moment wondering who'd been spying on her. Had Tony bought off some of her fellow students? Her professors? Her friends? It doesn't matter, she thought, I haven't cheated. "Whether I like it or not is irrelevant, Tony. It only matters if I comply with the terms of the will, and I have."
Tony shrugged. "You're right, it doesn't matter. You're not going to make the full year whether you get a kick out of showing off or not."
"You don't think so?" Allison's anger began to flare. "Don't underestimate me, Tony."
"And don't you fucking underestimate me either, Allison," Tony snapped back. "You'll be off this little wooded oasis soon and in my world." Tony took another drag off his cigarette, expelling the smoke into the crisp morning air. "You remember when Mariana Perez said that you'd get assignments from someone in the company once you joined the firm?" Allison nodded. "Well, niece, that person will be me."
Allison was a little stunned by this revelation. She knew that the terms of the will required her to work for Compton Enterprises after her graduation - in the nude, of course - and that she would be given assignments by someone in the company, but the idea that her Uncle Tony would be the one with direct control over those assignments was unsettling. It only makes too much sense though, she thought, scolding herself for not having seen it earlier. Of course Arthur Compton would leave this for his son Tony. After all, this was a battle between the two of them for control of his company. She also had no doubt that her late grandfather would have gotten a perverse pleasure out of this scenario.
Allison tried to pretend that this revelation made no difference to her. "So what?"
"That's what I like about you, Allison. You've got that never-say-die, can-do spirit!" he said.
"Cut out the sarcasm, Tony. Are you here for anything other than trying to intimidate me?"
"I'm not here to intimidate you, Allie. Hell, you're family, even though I try to forget that when I look at your world class tits."
"Fuck off, Tony." Allison stood up to leave.
"Whoa, I don't think I've ever heard you say the F-word before," he said. Allison began to retrieve her schoolbooks and her mother's package. "I guess you don't want to hear my offer then."
Allison stopped and looked at him. "Offer?"
Tony grinned. "I thought you might want to hear it." He tossed his cigarette on the ground, grinding it out with his heel.
"I'll listen but it had better be good," Allison said, sitting back down on the bench.
"I think it is, but you decide." Tony fixed his icy blue eyes on her and began. "First thing I'm gonna do is make sure your parents are taken care of. Your mom is my sister so it's only right. I'll pay off all of their debts, including their mortgage. Hell, I'll even toss your deadbeat Dad some construction jobs to get him back on his feet."
"I can do all that and a whole lot more in less than a year, Tony. And my Dad is no deadbeat - he's worked harder in his life than you ever will."
Tony shrugged and continued. "Second, I'll offer you a job. You want Compton Enterprises to do more to protect the environment? Done deal. I'll make you our Director of Environmental Protection. You'll get paid the same wages as our other directors, which is damn good for a girl just out of college. You can even wear clothes to work if you want," he smirked, "although I won't object if you don't."
"And then you'll fire me the first chance you get. Sorry, but I don't trust you as far as I can throw you."
"No? That hurts, Allison, it really does," Tony said with a mock hurt in his voice. "I'm trying to help you out here. But just to reassure you that my intentions are pure I've put all of this into a contract. It even includes some job protection guarantees. You can have your lawyer look at it if you want."
Allison thought about this for a moment and had to admit that the offer was tempting. But then any offer that allowed her to put her clothes on, to be a normal human being again, would sound tempting. "Is that it?" she asked.
"That's it, that's the offer. Take it or leave it."
"And if I leave it?"
"Then, Allie, you'll have a very interesting year, I can promise you that."
"You must be getting nervous if you're offering to buy me off already," she said.
"Nervous?" he laughed. "Trust me, with what I have planned for you I'm not nervous at all. I think it would be fun."
"Then why the offer?"
"Because I want to get rid of my title as Interim CEO and start moving ahead with my plans. Having to deal with this bullshit is just a distraction for both me and the company. Dad wanted to get his kicks and have you parade around naked for awhile. He got his last wish so now it's time to put this crap behind us and move on. It's time for me to start doing the job I was trained for."
"I suppose this Environmental Protection job is just a sham, huh? I won't have any real power."
"Not necessarily. I'm not going to dismantle the company to save a few goddamn spotted owls or anything, but Compton Enterprises does have a bad rep. It won't hurt to have someone like you who knows how to deal with environmental groups."
"So you want me to be an environmental PR spin artist? No thanks."
"You'll have the chance to make it more than that if you think you're capable," Tony said.
"But you'll have the final say on any policy changes, right?"
"Yep, it's going to be my company."
"And if I can stay nude for the entire year it will be my company and I'll be the one making those decisions, Tony."
"That's right, but if you don't make it - and you won't - you and your parents will get nothing. That's the gamble, babe. The offer comes off the table in 48 hours."
"I'll need to see the contract before I can even begin to think about it," Allison said.
Tony opened up a leather case he’d brought with him and pulled out a neatly typed and stapled document, handing it to Allison. "I can have a copy delivered to your lawyer and another to your parents within the hour if you want."
Allison thumbed through the legalese briefly and nodded her head. "Okay," Tony said. "It'll be done."
"Why only 48 hours?"
"Because I want to light a fire under your pretty little ass and get this thing done so we can both get on with our lives. This isn't a negotiation either, college girl, in case you or your lawyer comes up with the bright idea of a counter-offer. This is the only deal you're ever going to be offered. If you turn it down you won't get another."
Allison stood on her 3rd floor dorm balcony watching the lightning in the distance rip through the evening sky. The early morning coolness had given way to rising temperatures in the afternoon as a warm front passed through the area, dragging the first thunderstorm of the season behind it. The warm night breeze caressed her bare skin as she drank in the beauty and power of nature. For the first time since shedding her clothing her condition felt natural, it felt right. “It's good to be naked on a night like this,” she muttered. Flashes of light danced across the sky, delighting her.
The breeze began to freshen and the rolls of thunder grew louder, the flashes of lightning more frequent. The trees below began to bend as the edge of the storm reached the small college campus. When the rain began Allison let it pour over her body, cleansing her of the psychological filth she'd been wading through for the past two weeks. It was only when the violence of the center of the storm reached the campus that Allison reluctantly retreated into the room, dripping from the warm rain that had cascaded over her body.
Allison toweled herself off as a thunderous boom rattled the windows and the room turned to blackness. She blindly made her way to her desk and fumbled through a drawer until her hand found the matches. Another crash filled the night as she lit a candle near her bed. The flickering flame provided the only light as she lay on her bed.
The feelings of shame possessing her for the past two weeks were washed away now, at least temporarily, and replaced by a powerful feeling of sensuality. Her hands moved over her breasts, still beaded with moisture from the rain, and began teasing her nipples until they stood erect. Those hands began their journey south over her rising and falling stomach, caressing it in circular motions, then continued down her body.
Allison gasped as her fingers reached their final destination. Her back arched and she began moving to the rhythm of the storm, the violent rain beating against the windows, her wet hair spilling across her face. She moved faster now as the room was illuminated by flashes of light streaming in through the windows. Allison and the storm reached their climax together in this strange dance and she let out a scream as the thunder boomed overhead one last time. With a final moan, Allison sank onto her bed and listened quietly as the storm gradually faded away to the east.
After the storm had finally disappeared like a lover into the night Allison sat up and saw the towel lying beside the bed in the flickering candlelight. She began slowly toweling her hair as memories of the day began flooding back.
After her little meeting with Uncle Tony, Allison had only had time to drop off the contract and her grandmother's diary in the room before going off to classes for the day. The feeling of being nude in a college classroom was something she was never going to get used to, and the past two weeks had been emotionally exhausting. After her classes had ended Allison started making phone calls.
The first call she'd made was to her attorney and family friend, Bill Henderson. She wanted to make sure the contract was legit before wasting any time deciding whether to accept it or not.
"Allison, the contract looks pretty solid from my first reading of it," Bill had said. "There's some language I'd like to see tightened up and Tony Compton's lawyer would probably agree to that if you want to go ahead with it. But I think it legally backs up the promises he made to you."
"So what should I do, Bill? Is it a good deal?"
"It depends on what you consider good. Compared to what you'd get in the inheritance, it's damn poor. But compared to the prospect of having to spend a year in the nude it might be a good deal from your perspective. It's really a judgment call on your part."
"God, Bill, I'd do just about anything right now to end this if I can. This whole thing has been so humiliating and I really don't know if I can make it, especially if that jerk has control over me while I'm working for Compton Enterprises."
"That's perfectly understandable, Allison."
"So you think I should accept it?"
"Speaking as a lawyer, I'd say no. The claim that this is the best offer you're ever going to get is bullshit, in my opinion. The longer you last the better the offers will be. But as a friend I wouldn't blame you at all for taking it and ending this farce."
"How is the legal challenge to the will going?" she asked.
"I'm moving ahead with it as best I can but Arthur Compton's lawyers are stalling every step of the way. It'll be six months at minimum before we can get it to court."
"I'm afraid so, Allison. And, frankly, I'm not completely confident about our chances when we do get there. I've come up with some things I think might be effective in challenging the language in the will but it's not a slam dunk by any means."
Allison's next call had been to her mother, Sarah. Allison could hear the disappointment in her mother's voice when she told her she was considering accepting the settlement. "But you've come this far already, are you willing to throw all that away?" her mom had asked.
"It's only been two weeks and I'm already a nervous wreck!" Allison tried to choke back the tears. "God, Mom, it's been horrible, the eyes staring at me everywhere I go. It never stops. I hate it!"
Sarah was silent on the line for a moment before speaking. "I thought you were stronger than that, Allie."
Allison was a little stunned by this. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I thought you were strong enough to beat your grandfather at his own game."
"It's not a game, Mom, it's my life!"
"Of course it's your life and your choice, but if you take this offer you'll regret it for the rest of your life, hon. Do you really want to be Tony's little flunky? I'd give you six months before you quit in frustration."
"Oh, and you think it would be easier to go to work naked every day for almost a year?"
"No, sweetheart, it would be a lot more difficult, but you'd at least have a finite time frame to deal with and a huge reward at the end. If you take the deal you'll be stuck working for Tony indefinitely with not much to show for it."
Allison thought about this for a moment. "I don't know, Mom, I might really have a chance to do some good there in that environmental job he's offering."
Sarah laughed derisively. "Do some good? What good do you think you'll be able to do in that job? Once Tony's in full control and you're under his thumb he'll crush you and strip you of any power you may have. Take the offer if you want, Allie, but don't be naive, please. You're smarter than that."
"Naive?" Allison shrieked. "You try doing this! You try being naked in front of all your friends and teachers and strangers! You try living with everyone staring and leering at you all the time and making jokes behind your back! You come here and take my place for awhile, Mom, and then talk to me again about being naive and weak!"
There was a brief silence over the phone before Sarah responded quietly, "I would if I could, Allison."
"Fuck you!" Allison shouted and then slammed down the phone, angry and frustrated over the lack of support from her mother. That greedy bitch doesn't give a damn what I'm going through, she thought, and then immediately felt guilty for the thought. She couldn't remember ever cursing at her mother before. Allison had paced the room like a caged animal waiting for the return call from her Mom apologizing and telling her it was okay to take the deal. The call had never come.
Allison stared into the candlelight now trying to clear her mind and remove the stress that seemed to be a constant companion these days. Had it really been only been two weeks since she'd been a normal, happy college girl? It already seemed like it had been in another lifetime.
In the corner of her eye she saw her grandmother's diary lying on the end table. She picked it up and began turning the pages. It was filled with clean, elegant handwriting, and as she thumbed through it a photograph fell out onto the bed. Allison looked at it closely and saw a beautiful raven-haired woman of about nineteen with a melancholy smile on her face. Allison was stunned. She had no real memories of her grandmother and what few photos she'd seen of her had been taken later in her life. The young woman staring at her now could be her sister. The resemblance between Allison and her grandmother Rebecca was unmistakable.
Allison began to read Rebecca's diary in the flickering candlelight. It told the story of a young girl who had lost her parents in a car wreck early in her life; of bouncing from foster home to foster home, from school to school, always the new kid in class, always the one wearing the plain, unstylish clothes, never the one invited to the parties. It revealed a quiet, introspective girl who dreamed of being a princess someday - someone who desperately wanted to be loved and adored by all those around her. It also revealed a girl who only slowly became aware of her growing beauty as her teenage years passed.
Allison continued to read, fascinated by the life and thoughts of a woman she'd never really known. Rebecca had graduated from high school and then gone out into the world struggling to get by as best she could. She had been working as a waitress when she met a man named Arthur, and the words she wrote sent a chill up Allison's spine:
There's a guy named Arthur who comes into the restaurant two or three times a week. I'm not sure what his last name is but he's a very good tipper and really good-looking. I think he's rich, not that that matters. Ha, ha, right. I've been teasing him that the name Arthur is too formal and stuffy for such a young man and I've been calling him Art or Artie. I don't think he likes those names, though, so I went back to calling him Arthur. Anyway, he asked me out today! Did I mention he was really good-looking? And rich? Ha, ha I guess I did.
The almost giddy tone made Allison want to jump into the diary and warn Rebecca that there was a dark, manipulative side to this rich, good-looking young man. But she couldn't, of course, and she knew she never would have come into existence without the union of these two people. Both her fate and Rebecca's were inevitably linked to Arthur Compton.
Allison continued reading about Arthur's courtship of Rebecca. At first he'd been a perfect gentleman, lavishing gifts on the girl and taking her out to exclusive clubs and parties. It was a heady time for a young girl who'd grown up poor and had been shuffled around all her life. Allison read about the first time they had made love, how nervous Rebecca had been and how gentle Arthur had been with her. Rebecca fell in love. But even during those early days she'd been intuitive enough to sense there was more to him than he was revealing to her.
She wrote: Arthur has never been anything but kind and charming around me but I get the feeling that he's not someone you'd want to cross. There's nothing I can really put my finger on, it's just the way that I see some people act around him, like they're a little bit intimidated by him. There's just this undercurrent in him - I guess that's what you'd call it - that makes you feel like he's in control of every situation.
One day Arthur had taken Rebecca on a trip out of town and they were staying together in a hotel suite. After making love Arthur asked her if she would go down the hall for some ice.
I got out of bed and started to put my robe on. You don’t need the robe, Becky, he told me. I just laughed and put it on anyway and went out for the ice. I have to admit I was a little shocked by the suggestion. There's no way I'd ever walk out naked into a hotel hallway.
When Rebecca returned to the room Arthur was unusually quiet. He didn't say anything about what had occurred but Rebecca could sense something had changed in their relationship. After they'd gotten back home she didn't hear from him for a week. Then two weeks. Rebecca desperately tried to reach him but he didn't return her calls. She'd almost given up hope of seeing him again when the phone had rung a month later.
"Meet me at The Arlington restaurant at eight tonight, Becky," Arthur Compton had said. "We have something very important to talk about."
Arthur and Rebecca
Rebecca followed the maitre 'd nervously through the upscale restaurant, unsure of what kind of reception she'd be getting from Arthur. He hadn't told her over the phone what he wanted to talk about and their long separation had Rebecca expecting the worst. Her heart almost leapt out of her chest when she saw him sitting alone at the table.
He smiled as he stood to greet her. "Hello, darling," he said and lightly kissed her cheek. Rebecca could smell his familiar musky, masculine scent and she knew that his absence had made her want him more than ever.
Rebecca settled down in the chair that had been pulled back for her by the maitre 'd. "Is there anything I can do for you, sir?" he asked.
"No thanks, I think we're fine for now," Arthur replied, and the man returned to his podium leaving the two of them alone. Arthur pulled an uncorked bottle of wine from the wine bucket adjacent to the table and filled Rebecca's glass. "I hope you don't mind, but I've ordered the wine and food in advance."
"That’s fine," Rebecca said, as a million questions ran through her mind. Was this a final farewell dinner before he dumped her? Were they getting back together? Why hadn't he returned her calls in over a month? Was there someone else? She resisted the urge to blurt out these questions and waited for him to initiate the conversation.
Arthur held up his wine glass. "You look lovelier than ever, Rebecca."
She clinked her glass against his and felt the calming influence of the wine as it drained down her throat. They sat in silence for several minutes as Rebecca picked at the dinner salad that had been placed in front of her.
"It's good to see you again, Arthur," she said finally. "I didn't know if I ever would again."
"Yes," he replied. "I'm sorry about that, Rebecca. I had to do some thinking about our relationship and where I wanted to go with it."
Rebecca felt a nervous chill crawl up her back. She noticed that he was calling her by her full name instead of shortening it to Becky like he normally did. She wasn’t really sure what that meant.
"And what did you decide?" she asked, not at all sure she wanted to know the answer.
A waiter appeared at the table before Arthur could answer and the half-eaten salad was removed and replaced by a covered entree. The waiter lifted the cover revealing the spaghetti alle vongole smothered with a sauce of baby clams, white wine, garlic and olive oil...her favorite. Arthur had ordered the roasted pheasant for himself.
The two of them ate in silence at first and when they spoke again it was mostly small talk. What had she been doing since he'd last seen her? Not much, was her reply, and that had been the truth. Without Arthur her life had returned to the dreary routine she'd known prior to meeting him. Had Arthur done anything special? Just taking care of business matters mainly, he told her.
Rebecca knew better than to ask him about his business affairs; it was a subject he rarely talked about with her. She'd gotten the feeling early on that it might be best if she didn't know everything there was to know about how he made his money. It's not that she thought he was a gangster or a drug smuggler or anything, but she wasn't sure that all of his wealth had been acquired completely honestly either. He'd started from scratch and had become quite wealthy at a relatively young age. He was only ten years older, but sometimes the gap between them seemed like decades to her.
The two finished eating and the empty plates were removed. Arthur re-filled both of their wine glasses as Rebecca's unasked questions hung over the table. Arthur finally began to speak. "Rebecca, do you remember the last time we were together in that hotel?"
Rebecca nodded. Of course she did. "What were your feelings when I asked you not to put on your robe when you were preparing to go down the hall to the ice machine?"
"I guess I thought you were joking," Rebecca replied.
"Would you have done it if you'd known that I wasn't joking?"
"I don't know. I don't think so."
"Someone might have seen me."
"Would that have been so terrible?" he asked.
Rebecca shifted nervously in her seat. "It would have been embarrassing."
"Do you think it would have been exciting for you as well?" Arthur smiled at the wide-eyed look on her face. "Yes, I mean exciting in a sexual way. Do you think you might have become aroused by being naked in a public setting?"
"I don't know. Maybe. It would have made me very nervous."
Arthur smiled again at her. "That's good, Rebecca. Being nervous and excited is very good. It makes you feel alive, doesn't it?"
"Why are you asking me these things, Arthur?"
Arthur leaned in toward her as if letting her in on a secret. "Rebecca, there are two things in my life that go beyond normal passions and hungers into the area of obsession. The first of those things is making money and gaining the power that having wealth brings."
Rebecca took a nervous sip of wine as she listened to him speak. "Do you know what my second obsession is, Rebecca?"
"That's very important, yes, but I think my appetites fall within the norm in that regard." Rebecca didn't offer up any more guesses and waited for Arthur to continue. He fixed his gaze on her and spoke again.
"Rebecca, I've had strong fantasies ever since I was a child...fantasies about public exhibitionism, about naked flesh in a public setting. No, not my own naked flesh. I don't find the male body particularly attractive, not even my own. But a beautiful nude female body revealed in a public setting...my god, there's an awesome power and excitement in that, especially if the woman is not entirely willing."
Rebecca could feel her heart pounding in her chest and a nervous energy filled her body as the direction this conversation was heading became all too obvious to her.
"You have to understand, Rebecca, that this is not a normal fantasy...it's something that permeates my dreams. The nervous excitement, energy, arousal, and humiliation of the exhibitionist is something I feed off of and derive power from. It's not something I want, Rebecca., it's something I need."
Rebecca stared down into her wine glass, avoiding Arthur's powerful gaze. "I..I don't think I could ever do anything like that," she stuttered.
"Do you love me, Rebecca?" he asked..
Arthur smiled. "That's good because I've come to realize that I'm in love with you as well. I realized it over the past month when I didn't see you. I couldn't stop thinking about you."
Rebecca was thrilled by these words.
Arthur continued. "One of the things I find most intoxicating about you is your innocence and lack of vanity. Those are rare qualities in a beautiful woman."
Rebecca listened silently staring down into the wine glass, not sure what to say.
"Rebecca, I've decided that I want to marry you."
Rebecca looked up at Arthur, stunned. She hadn't been expecting this at all.
"Yes, I want that very much, Rebecca. There's only one thing standing in our way." He leaned in very close to her now. "I need to exhibit your nude body to the world. I need to feel what you're feeling when you experience that, Rebecca. It's something I have to know that you'll do for me whenever I ask."
Rebecca's head was spinning now. "Couldn't you just hire someone to do that for you?" she asked, a little shocked by her own suggestion.
"You mean hookers or strippers? I'd get no satisfaction from women like that. I need someone who would find what I ask daring and exciting and frightening and even humiliating. I need someone like you, Rebecca."
"I'm not sure exactly what you would want me to do, Arthur. Are you talking about going down the hall naked for ice or being naked in front of a lot of people?"
"Both. Sometimes I'll ask you to do things where you might not be seen at all and the thrill will come from the possibility of being seen. Other times there will be no question that people will see your nude body."
"How often would you ask me to do these kinds of things?"
"Not often. It might be weeks or months at a time between experiences. It's important to me that you never become accustomed to doing it. You'll never know ahead of time when I'll ask and that will be part of the excitement of it. It could happen at any time and anywhere."
"And what if I refused to do it?"
"I'd consider it a breach of our wedding vows and grounds for divorce. You wouldn't get much in the settlement either. I have very good lawyers."
Rebecca sat stunned by all she was hearing, unable to speak.
"Rebecca, I want to take care of you. I'll treat you like a princess. You'll have wealth and anything you want in this world. I'll deny you nothing. We'll raise a family together. I just need you to do this one thing for me. I can't marry you without the promise that you will."
"I..I don’t know if I can. I don't know if I'm capable of doing the things you're asking."
"There’s one way to find out, Rebecca," he said.
"How?" She looked into his face but he didn't answer. He just leaned back in his chair and stared at her intensely. With a growing realization she began to understand what he was suggesting. Her eyes grew wide as she looked around the crowded restaurant. Every table was filled and there were more diners standing near the front waiting for a table. "Here?" she whispered in shock.
Arthur Compton pulled a small box out of his pocket, opened it, and set it on the table in front of her. It was a diamond engagement ring and to Rebecca it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.
"Rebecca, there's a women's restroom at the back of the restaurant. I'd like you to go in there, freshen up, and think about everything I've said here. If you decide you can't go through with it then just return to the table and we'll leave. We'll both know at that point that it's not going to work out between us."
Rebecca closed her eyes and could feel her head spinning, knowing what he was going to say next.
"But if you decide you do want to marry me, to live the life that I'm offering, then I want you to remove all of your clothes and put them in the trash can. Everything. Even your shoes. Leave your purse here at the table. If you return to the table in the nude then I'll know that you've accepted my conditions as part of our marriage contract."
Rebecca shoved open the door to the women's restroom and walked quickly to a sink. A woman applying make-up was the only other occupant. Rebecca turned on the cold water tap and began rubbing water over her face.
"Are you alright, dear," she heard the woman say. "You look ill."
"I'm fine thanks," Rebecca answered as she made her way into one of the stalls, latching it behind her. She stood leaning against the side of the stall, tears welling up in her eyes, a torrent of different emotions rushing through her. She heard footsteps, then the door opening and closing as the restroom turned silent. Rebecca began sobbing quietly, unsure of what to do.
The marriage proposal was a dream-come-true for her but the conditions attached to it were almost unthinkable. Could she possibly walk out nude into a crowded restaurant? And even if she did it could she possibly do that kind of thing over and over again? That might be the worst thing of all...not knowing when or where Arthur might ask her to take her clothes off. She'd be in a constant state of uneasiness!
Rebecca wiped her eyes and tried to think it through logically. I'm only considering this because I love him, she thought, but knew immediately that wasn't completely true. She did love him but would she have ever considered doing this if Arthur had been some working class stiff struggling from paycheck to paycheck? She didn't think so. She'd never thought of herself as being particularly materialistic before but when you grow up poor and then get a taste of the other side of life it's hard to go back. Money matters, she thought, not wanting to lie to herself. Money always matters when you don't have any.
Rebecca wiped her eyes and could feel her fingers trembling as they fumbled with the zipper behind her back. She slid her hands beneath the straps of her dress and pulled it down her body to the floor. She stepped out of it and looked down on it lying in a crumpled heap at her feet.
That's my favorite dress and I'm going to throw it in the trash, she thought numbly, barely believing that she was actually going through with this. But he'll buy me another. Oh, he's going to buy me whole closets full of beautiful dresses for doing this, I'll make sure of that.
Rebecca continued undressing until she held all of her clothes and shoes in a ball against her bare stomach. She unlatched the stall door and walked to the large white trash can in the corner. There was one last moment of doubt and hesitation before she shoved the lid open and jammed her clothes into it.
As she turned toward the door she got a glimpse of herself in the mirror and the full shock of what she was doing hit her. She could feel a wave of panic and despair as she stared at her naked body in the mirror. Her face had turned a beet red and the unmistakable feelings of arousal were washing over her. “Arthur was right about what I'd experience,” she said to herself. “This is exactly what he wants.”
Rebecca stood at the restroom door for what seemed like an eternity, terrified of what she knew was in store for her beyond it. She breathed deeply trying to calm herself, half-expecting the door to open at any moment. "Oh, god," she said quietly as she pulled the door open and stepped out into her new life.
Rebecca heard a woman gasp as she walked past the tables of diners. The restaurant went eerily quiet and she could almost hear the sound of her own heart pounding. The room began to swim and for a moment she was afraid she might faint. Up ahead Arthur was staring at her, a greedy, hungry look in his eyes. She could feel him willing her onward toward the table and she obeyed, putting one step in front of the other until she reached him.
He grasped her in his arms and took her hand, sliding the diamond ring onto her finger. "You have no idea how happy you've made me here today, Rebecca." Arthur said to her. "I'm so proud of you."
Rebecca could only nod her head weakly as her knees began to collapse. She felt Arthur lift her into his arms and carry her towards the door.
The window drapes slid open sending the morning light beaming into Allison's face and she blinked awake to see her roommate Katie standing above her.
"Wakey-wakey, nakie Allie," she heard Katie say in a sing-song voice. "Time for another glorious day of indoctrination and brainwashing."
Allison glanced over at the alarm clock next her bed and saw the red blinking 12:00. "Shit, what time is it?"
"About eight," Katie responded.
Allison sat up groggily. "I see the power's back on."
"Nothing escapes your uncanny powers of observation, girlfriend."
"Shut up," Allison giggled.
"You going to breakfast this morning?" Katie asked.
"Naw, I don't think I have time. My first class is at nine. I'm just going to hit the showers and maybe grab a cup of coffee."
"Yeah, I can see how you wouldn't have time for breakfast what with having to decide which clothes you're not going to wear and all."
Allison laughed. "Yep, that's a real time consumer."
The two girls shuffled down the hallway toward the women's showers, Katie in her bathrobe and Allison in her birthday suit. Allison saw a couple of guys down the hallway gawking at her. She felt a little annoyed but let it pass. Why wouldn't they gawk?
The shower room was empty and the two girls selected showers next to each other and began adjusting the water temperature to their individual suiting. Allison stepped under the hot water and recalled the sensuous feeling of standing nude in the storm the previous night.
"Nasty storm last night, huh?" she heard Katie say.
"Wonderful storm," she replied with a smile as she rubbed the soap across her breasts. Her thoughts continued on to Rebecca's diary and that suddenly reminded her of her uncle's visit. The warm feelings quickly faded away.
"Katie, my Uncle Tony showed up yesterday."
"Yeah? What'd that sleazeball want?"
"He offered me a deal."
Katie stopped soaping herself and looked over at Allison suspiciously. "What kind of deal?"
Allison explained the terms of the offer. Katie exclaimed, "That deal sucks! You didn't take it did you?"
Allison shook her head. "I was considering it, though."
"Well don't. You've gotta become a rich bitch and make me your number one assistant. We have a deal."
"I said I was considering it. Past tense. I'm not anymore," she said, realizing for the first time that she'd made up her mind.
"Whew, that's good," Katie said. "Just curious why not, though."
"I was reading my grandmother Rebecca's diary last night. I guess it just reinforced how cruel my grandfather was." She told Katie the story about the night Arthur proposed to her.
Katie shook her head. "God, your grandfather was a major perv, wasn't he?"
"Yes, that's why I have to keep going with this. I'm going to make him pay for how he treated Rebecca even if it's posthumously."
"Jeez, I thought my family was screwed up. Your family makes the one on Dynasty look like the Cleavers."
Allison laughed. "Well at least I turned out pure of heart and mind."
"And naked of body," Katie added.
The two girls finished their showers and returned to the room. As Allison toweled her hair she decided to get the unpleasant task of calling Tony over with. Picking up the phone she dialed his number.
"Tony, it's Allison. I'm calling you with my decision on your offer."
"Okay, go ahead."
"The answer is no, Tony. No deal."
There was silence on the other end for a few moments before the response came. "Then let the games begin," Tony said, and the line clicked dead.
Allison breathed deeply as she hung up the phone, both relieved that she'd made the decision and terrified about the future. The nightmare was going to continue. She sat down on the bed and ran the brush nervously through her hair as she watched Katie getting dressed and applying makeup. Not having to worry about clothes or makeup really does save time, she thought as she waited for her roomie to finish up. She saw the photograph of Rebecca lying on her bedstand.
"Do you want to see a picture of my grandmother, Katie?"
Allison handed the photograph to Katie.
"God, you look a lot like her," Katie said as she examined it. "No wonder the old creep wanted to get you naked. You reminded him of her. You don't have to be Psych major to figure that shit out."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right."
Katie handed the picture back to Allison. "It's kinda strange, though, that he waited until after he died to do it, huh? It seems to me like the old nut would've wanted a ringside seat for this."
"I guess he didn't want to give up control of his company until he knew he was going to die and by then it was too late," Allison replied. She had thought about what Katie had said herself and that was the answer she'd come up with. The question did bother her, though. Why would Arthur Compton come up with such an elaborate scheme for her if he wouldn't be around to get his kicks from it? She never would understand what had gone on inside that man's mind, she decided.
"Okay, I'm ready," Katie said finally and Allison grabbed her books and headed for the door as the phone began ringing. Allison hesitated for a moment trying to decide whether or not to let it go to voice mail. She put her books down and picked it up.
"Hello, is this Allison Davis?" she heard an unfamiliar woman's voice say.
"Hello, Allison this is Tamara Brand from Channel Five Live Action News. We've gotten an interesting report about you and your clothing-optional situation at Wildwood College and were wondering if I could bring a camera crew by this afternoon for an interview."
Allison gasped. "A..an interview? For TV? No, I couldn't," she stammered.
"Ms. Davis, we're planning on doing a story about you with or without your cooperation. It really would be to your benefit to talk to us."
Allison began to shake. Tony's last words echoed through her mind.
Let the games begin.
Allison sat in her dorm room trying to focus on the textbook in front of her, but it was a futile effort as thoughts of her upcoming interview with the TV news reporter kept intruding. She finally gave up trying to study and looked at the clock. Still another hour before she was scheduled to meet with Tamara Brand and the thought of being in the news filled her with both dread and a tingling sense of anticipation. With a restless sense of energy she began pacing the room, feeling trapped in it but unwilling to leave the room just yet to expose her naked flesh once again to the world. Her eyes rested on her grandmother’s diary and she picked it up and turned to the page where she had left off.
Allison had begun to feel a close sense of connection to the grandmother she had never known and her words helped comfort her in a way. She felt a kinship now with Rebecca that went beyond just the family ties – they both shared the same decision to submit to forced exhibitionism at the hands of Arthur Compton and all the humiliations, experiences, and emotions that decision would bring.
Her grandmother had written in great detail about her experiences and emotions and as Allison read the diary she was once again transported from her dorm room back in time to Rebecca’s world.
"I’ve laid out what I’d like you to wear to the auction tonight, Becky. I hope you like it."
Rebecca looked nervously at her husband and then at the garment box lying on the bed. On the box was the name of a prominent French designer. Rebecca opened the box and saw the black evening dress. Pulling it out she held it in front of her and breathed a sigh of relief. "It’s beautiful, Arthur."
Compton smiled. "I’m glad you like it." He handed her a pair of black heels. "These will go well with that dress, I think. Oh, and I don’t think we need any undergarments to interfere with the lines of this lovely dress."
He smiled as he saw the look on her face. "It’ll be our little secret." Compton walked toward the door. "Go ahead and get changed, Becky, we’ll be leaving shortly. There are some more accessories on your dressing table I think would go well with that outfit. Don’t be long, dear."
Rebecca stripped off her clothes and pulled the dress on. She turned and looked at herself in the mirror and smiled; she could scarcely believe this was the same girl who had spent most of her life wearing clothing from Goodwill. The gown fit perfectly. It had a single strap on her left shoulder with the right shoulder remaining strapless. The front of the dress angled down over her right breast leaving it tantalizingly revealed to just above the areola and then curving around to bare the right side of her back. The full-length dress also had a single slit up the right side reaching her upper thigh. The dress was sexy and elegant, not overly revealing and trashy as Rebecca had feared it would be.
Rebecca pulled the heels on and walked over to the dressing table where she found a leather case. Opening it she gasped as she saw the diamond earrings and diamond necklace encased within. Oh my god, these must be worth a fortune! she thought as she put them on.
Walking over to the mirror once again she stared at the beautiful woman in the mirror. She’d been at the hairdresser this afternoon and her silky raven hair was pinned up with just a single layer allowed to fall down the left side of her face. She turned and examined herself from every possible angle and then began laughing giddily. I really do look like a princess!
Arthur Compton pretended to swoon as he saw his bride coming down the staircase and Rebecca couldn’t help but smile at her handsome husband. She reached up and softly kissed his cheek and whispered in his ear, "Thank you for this darling. I feel like a princess."
"You’re more beautiful than any princess, my dear," Compton replied, meaning it. He offered her his arm and they walked arm-in-arm out the door to the waiting limo.
The auction was a private affair being held at an exclusive club. Members of the club offered up donations to be bid on and the proceeds were donated to various charities. The auction served primarily as a tax break for these wealthy men, but it still served a good purpose. The club was normally a men’s only domain but for certain events like this women were allowed. There were about one hundred men and women in the room, all dressed in their elegant finest, as Arthur and Rebecca made their way to their seat. "Every eye is on you, Becky," Arthur whispered and she blushed slightly as she took her seat.
Rebecca was fascinated by the whole affair. She’d never been to an auction before, much less one where the bids sometimes ranged up into the tens of thousands. The man serving as auctioneer looked familiar but she wasn’t sure where she’d seen him before.
"Do you have anything up for bid," she asked Arthur.
"Yes, several items. They’ll be bid on last," he replied as she wondered what it was he’d put up for bid and why they were being bid on last. The bidding continued for over an hour on various pieces of art, sculpture, and jewelry, and after awhile Rebecca turned her attention to the people in the room. Some of the older women were obviously wives of the men here but some of the women were much younger than the men they were accompanying. She decided that these were either mistresses or trophy wives who’d been picked up after the first wife had been dumped. Rebecca was contemplating her own future with her rich, handsome husband when she heard her name being called by the auctioneer at the front of the room. She looked around a little bewildered.
"Mrs. Compton, would you care to come to the front of the room please to assist with the final auction?" the auctioneer repeated.
Rebecca looked at Arthur but he just smiled and motioned with his head, indicating that she should comply. She stood up and walked nervously down the center aisle toward the platform at the front of the room.
When she reached the auctioneer he leaned down and whispered to her, "Hello, Rebecca. My name is Daniel Thompson. I’m a business partner of your husband. He’s asked me if you wouldn’t mind assisting us in auctioning your accessories." Rebecca fingered her beautiful diamond necklace. It didn’t look like she was going to be allowed to keep the beautiful jewelry after all.
Slightly disappointed she answered, "Of course. What do I need to do?"
"Just stand here and look lovely," he replied. "The highest bidder will come up and retrieve the item at the end of each bid."
Rebecca looked out over the room full of people and put a smile on her face although she felt a little uncomfortable with all of the eyes staring at her. The auctioning began on the diamond earrings and it soon climbed into thousands of dollars – a sum that would’ve been unfathomable to her in her previous life.
The bidding ended and she heard the auctioneer say, "Mr. Anderson would you like to come up and retrieve your new earrings?" A gray-haired older man stood and began walking forward as Rebecca began to unlatch the earring from her left ear.
"Ah, Mrs. Compton, let the bidder do that please," Thompson said. "Your husband’s wishes." Rebecca let her arms drop to her sides as the man approached.
"Lovely, just lovely," the man said looking everywhere but the earrings. Rebecca just smiled as the man leaned near her and began unfastening them. She could detect the smell of bourbon on his breath.
"Thank you Mrs. Compton, I’m sure my wife will love these."
"You're welcome," she replied as she watched the man retreat to his seat next to a woman who looked like anything but his wife.
Next came the bidding for the necklace and, being the more valuable piece, the bidding went much higher. This time the high bidder was a much younger man and as he approached the platform she wondered if he was a child of privilege or had started from scratch like her husband had.
"Hello Mrs. Compton, my name is James Harrington," the man said. Rebecca recognized the last name – they were one of the most prominent families in the area. Old wealth. "Thank you for allowing your beautiful jewelry to be auctioned in the name of charity. That’s very generous of you."
"It’s my pleasure," she replied not wanting to tell him that it hadn’t been her idea. Harrington leaned in close as he reached behind her to unfasten her necklace and Rebecca could detect a musky, masculine scent. He smelled good to her. Harrington placed a light kiss on her cheek that sent a little tingle up her. I’m a married woman now, she scolded herself as she watched him retreat to his seat, but she took a little delight in the air of sensuality she knew she was exuding.
With the auctioning of the jewelry now completed, Rebecca began to step off the platform. "One moment please, Mrs. Compton, we aren’t quite finished yet."
Puzzled, Rebecca returned to Daniel Thompson’s side.
"Just a couple of more minutes of your time, please. Thank you for your patience."
Rebecca nodded, unsure of what would be required of her.
"Now for our final bid of the evening, ladies and gentlemen," she heard him say. He stretched out one hand toward Rebecca and lightly grasped the side of her dress. "We now have one black evening gown by Parisian designer Claude Chernier available for your bid."
Rebecca gasped as she heard the words. "B-but I’m wearing nothing underneath and have nothing else to change into," she stuttered.
"I’m sorry, Mrs. Compton, but your husband should have warned you," Thompson replied quietly.
The room filled with a buzz at the announcement of the item up for bid and Rebecca was afraid for a moment she might faint as the full realization of what was happening hit her. She saw the thin smile and intense glare of anticipation in Arthur’s eyes as he watched her reaction. For a moment she considered bolting off of the stage but steadied herself as she remembered the agreement she had made prior to the marriage. Her humiliation was the price she had agreed to pay and would continue to pay as long as she could bear it.
Rebecca took a deep breath and nodded toward Daniel Thompson, indicating he could go ahead with the auction. She tried to block out the eyes staring at her but the anticipation of the event she knew was coming – her "unveiling" – was almost too much for her. Along with the feelings of nervous anticipation came feelings of arousal. She tried to fight back these feelings but she could feel her hardening nipples pressing against the fabric of her dress.
The bidding accelerated rapidly and it soon went well beyond what the dress could have possibly been worth; beyond what even the diamond necklace had gone for. Bidders slowly dropped out until it was between just two – Anderson and Harrington – the two men who had placed the highest bids on her jewelry.
Rebecca prayed that if someone was going to strip the dress off of her it would be James Harrington and not the whiskey-breathed older man. The bidding continued to spiral upwards until finally the older man reluctantly shook his head when the auctioneer asked for a further bid.
"Mr. Harrington would you like to come up and claim your item?" Thompson said and Rebecca shivered in nervous anticipation.
"If you don’t mind I think I’ll allow my wife to do that," he replied and the beautiful woman sitting next to him stood and made her way towards the platform and Rebecca.
"Hello, Rebecca. My name is Julia."
"H-hello, Julia," she replied not knowing what else to say. The scent of Julia’s perfume and her close proximity heightened Rebecca’s arousal to her shame and embarrassment. She could feel herself becoming moist.
"That’s a beautiful dress, Rebecca. I hope I can wear it as well as you do."
"I’m sure you will," Rebecca replied, not lying. Julia was lovely and about the same size she was.
Julia smiled and placed her hand on Rebecca’s shoulder, slipping the hand below the single strap. Her other hand touched the side of Rebecca’s breast on the strapless slide and then slid beneath the fabric.
Rebecca shuddered at the touch and as the dress was peeled downward revealing her breasts. Julia bent down and continued to pull the dress past her hips and then to the floor. Rebecca stepped out of the dress as Julia stood up and kissed her lightly on the cheek before returning to her seat with dress in hand.
Rebecca stood now revealed to the audience in all her glory, wearing only the heels. She half expected the bidding to begin again for those. Rebecca stood for what seemed like an eternity in front of the sea of eyes pouring over her nude body, her hardened nipples betraying her arousal.
"Thank you ladies and gentleman for your generosity this evening," she heard Thompson say from what seemed like a million miles away. "This has been a very successful evening and the charities will all benefit greatly. And now, I hope you will all join us for the reception in the cocktail lounge."
He offered his arm to Rebecca. "I hope you’ll allow me to escort you to the reception, Mrs. Compton. I’m sure your presence will be the highlight of the affair."
End of Chapter 4